Insurmountable opposition is the great equalizer. Doesn’t matter if you are top of the food chain or bottom of the pile, when you are out numbered, you are out numbered. When “the 800 pound gorilla in the room” is actually IN the room, doesn’t matter if you the CEO or just another CPA, everybody’s knees knock with fear. Unless, of course, you know One who is greater than any enemy force. If, instead, you trust in Someone more powerful than any King Kong. Isaiah reminds me this morning that with a firm faith comes a firm footing.
Reading in Isaiah 7 this morning and the king of Syria joins forces with the son of the king of Israel to wage war against Jerusalem. And Ahaz king of Judah knows he has a problem. A really BIG problem.
When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
(Isaiah 7:2 ESV)
Their hearts trembled. Both king and servant. Both adult and child. When they heard of this unholy alliance set against them, they were compromised to their core. And it was into this situation that the LORD sent His prophet Isaiah.
And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, . . . And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands . . . ‘”
(Isaiah 7:3-4 ESV)
Be on guard, Ahaz, don’t let your heart melt before these two conquering wannabe’s. Know peace. Refuse dread. No need to be timid before this two “smoldering stumps.”
And through the prophet, the LORD, seeks to assure the king of Judah that what these two aggressors had in mind would never come to pass. That rather than conquer, they would be conquered. That within 65 years Ephraim, the northern kingdom, would “be shattered from being a people” (7:8). And to punctuate His assurance, the LORD through Isaiah warns Ahaz,
“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
(Isaiah 7:9b ESV)
The eternal pillar of fire from heaven was ready to stand strong against these “two burned-out embers” (NLT) of earth. The King of glory who commands legions of mighty angels–He who Isaiah had seen seated on His throne, high and lifted, before whom the angels declare “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isa. 6:1-5)–this mighty King of heaven was ready to defend His people against the big-talking, but just blowing smoke, kings of earth. But, says Isaiah, without faith there could be no footing.
God is ready to enter the fray on behalf of all His people. His grace is sufficient. He is for us, so who can be against us? The work He has begun in us, He will complete . . . and even the gates of hell will not prevail against us. That’s the truth. But will we believe it? Will we trust in it? Will we, by grace, stand firm in it? If we are not firm in faith, we will not be firm at all.
Know the word of God . . . know the God of the word . . . and trust with all your heart.
Firm faith, firm footing.
By His grace. For His glory.